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Brooklyn’s Contemporary Design Scene

BROOKLYN DESIGNS 02Brooklyn has a thriving and prolific community of artists, artisans, craftspeople, and designers that puts it on par with other hubs of craftsmanship around the world. Products bearing the Brooklyn-Made certification are coveted by collectors and design aesthetes interested in authenticity and the backstory of pieces they acquire. Once a year, the borough showcases its maker community in an event known as Brooklyn Designs, now in its 15th year presented by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and co-produced with Novità Communications.

BROOKLYN DESIGNS nimee

The borough’s rich design heritage, iconic style, and bustling creative community are rooted in time-honored techniques and contemporary style, a mix of old and new in small batch and limited run production. In an age of mass-produced, disposable consumer goods, Brooklyn makers return us to the value of something well-built, by hand with heart. Here’s a look at some of my favorite design finds from emerging designers and established brands.

The Platonic Lounge Chair by Francis Assadi Design Studio
The Platonic Lounge Chair by Francis Assadi Design Studio

Francis Assadi draws inspiration from his background in film, photography and design and his work with Lebanese craftsmen. His latest collection fuses a love for the modern with the aesthetic sensibilities of various cultures.

The Warren Lounge and Q Table by Token
The Warren Lounge and Q Table by Token

 Token draws on the European Arts and Crafts movement, Chinese landscape painting and Abstract Expressionism to produce unique, atelier-style furniture.

Caterpollar bench and layered oval coffee table by Shuya Design
Caterpollar bench and layered oval coffee table by Shuya Design

Emerging brand Shuya Design creates custom furniture that combines wood, marble and other materials in unconventional ways.

Handcrafted furniture designed and built by Ottra. Photographed by John Muggenborg.
Handcrafted furniture designed and built by Ottra. Photographed by John Muggenborg.

Brooklyn is also known for its concentration of architect-turned-product designers including Ot/tra that creates hand-crafted furniture complementing its architecture practice.

Torsion table by Foundrywood
Torsion table by Foundrywood

Fitchwork is another Brooklyn contemporary maker standout for its ornamental pendants sintered from powdered nylon. 

Array lamp by Fitchwork
Array lamp by Fitchwork

Quiet Town, Inc. creates stylish shower curtains using ethical, quality materials including 100 percent, 10-ounce cotton milled in the USA. The co-founders created the company because “they were tired of buying pieces they needed but didn’t love.”

Marfa Shower Curtains by Quiet Town
Marfa Shower Curtains by Quiet Town

The 2018 edition took place at the Brooklyn Museum, kicking off the first weekend of NYCxDESIGN from May 12-13. 

For more on what’s new and next in design, subscribe to The Design Tourist Channel and sign up for the blog email.

 

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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